Re: Writing vs. ??? TECHNICAL writing

Subject: Re: Writing vs. ??? TECHNICAL writing
From: Brad Connatser <cwrites -at- USIT -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 11:56:00 GMT

In article <2 -dot- 2 -dot- 16 -dot- 19961003190254 -dot- 3a879216 -at- postoffice3 -dot- mail -dot- cornell -dot- edu>,
Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- cornell -dot- edu> wrote:
> Techwhirlers? Are we to believe what a couple of techwriters and our list
> owner are telling us, either directly or indirectly -- that the question of
> whether or not the word "since" is acceptable in technical writing is not an
> appropriate topic for discussion among techwriters? That the question of
> _what makes good writing_ has nothing to do with _what makes good TECHNICAL
> writing_?

IMO, anything having to do with expository writing (that includes
rhetoric, grammar, mechanics, and general composition) is fit for
discussion on this newsgroup. I can't imagine anyone presenting a cogent
argument that how we use words has little or nothing to do with technical
communication. In fact, applying the conventions and using the tools of
technical communication have much less to do with the conveyance of
technical information than knowing how to write a sentence. If discussion
of word usage is verboten on this list, then the most important criteron
for successful communication has been eliminated as a point of discussion.
In my experience as a publications manager, I have seen many technical
communicators who can use software with superlative skill, who can make
things look pretty, who know the genres of technical communication by
heart, who can quote chapter and verse from texts on technical
communication, but who cannot write an eloquent sentence and does not know
when to break the shackles of convention. Mastering language is the
technical writer/editor's most consequential challenge to his professional
success. Isn't language, then, a fit topic of discussion for this


Brad Connatser
Concurrent Communications
cwrites -at- usit -dot- net

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